Ronaldo Souza is not interested in being anyone’s plan B.
Fresh off a stunning third-round knockout victory over former UFC middleweight king Chris Weidman at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden, “Jacare” made it clear that he wants his next fight to be for the 185-pound belt, and being a backup plan for the upcoming Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum title bout isn’t an option.
“I’m a plan A, man,” Souza told MMA Fighting. “I will fight for the belt. I want to wait for my chance. I’m a plan A, I will wait for my turn.”
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, who made weight as a backup plan for UFC 205’s Weidman vs. Yoel Romero clash in 2016, is not interested in going through the whole process of cutting weight and not entering the Octagon another time.
And even if the UFC says it might take a while before he faces the winner of Whittaker vs. Gastelum, which is set for UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia, on Feb. 9, “Jacare” is comfortable waiting on the sidelines.
“I’ve made a lot of money this year,” Souza said. “I fought three times, I won three bonuses. I have one performance bonus and two fights of the night, I knocked my last opponent out. I’ve made plenty of money, I can stay some time without fighting.”
Souza is confident that a shot at the UFC belt is what he deserves after finishing Weidman in New York, but knows that nothing is certain in today’s mixed martial arts world.
“Romero defeats me in a robbery and fights for the belt. Gastelum wins a split decision, a close fight — and I thought I should have won — and he fights for the belt,” Souza said. “If Chris Weidman had beat me, he would have fought for the belt, and I’m the No. 5 in the rankings. I knocked him out. Why am I not going to fight for the belt? Why? For what reason?
“He’s an excellent champion, a nice guy, someone who has beaten every Brazilian he fought, and I ended his dominance over Brazilians. The title is something natural that will happen. No one can be sure of anything, man. Things only happen if God allows it, but I believe it will happen.”
The former Strikeforce middleweight champion improved to 9-3 under the UFC banner with eight of those wins coming by way of stoppage, including names like Vitor Belfort, Gegard Mousasi, Tim Boetsch, and Yushin Okami.